EXPOSING the FDA and the USDA - Broad Casting here the things that they would prefer us NOT to know about our FOOD & DRUGS & Farming.

Friday, February 26, 2010

USDA urged to apply limits to injected poultry products




26 Feb 2010

Legislators and consumers are looking to heighten the awareness and response from the USDA over the amount of salt water that poultry processors are allowed to inject into poultry products and call them natural.
In a news conference in Washington, Senator Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., teamed up with Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Bill Mattos, the president of the California Poultry Federation.

"I have long fought to ensure that all consumer product labels are fair and truthful," said Boxer. "Unfortunately, since 2003, chicken injected with sodium additives has been allowed to be misleadingly labeled as 100% all-natural. There is nothing 'all-natural' about chicken injected with sodium additives."

The consumer advocates' concern is that, when a sodium solution is injected, poultry meat's inherent health benefits are diminished. Injected poultry products have a sodium content that offers up to 8 times more salt per serving than natural chicken that is not injected, an issue for consumers seeking to reduce the amount of salt in their diets, reports state.

The consumer advocates called on USDA to "immediately prevent sodium-injected chicken from using the 'natural' label," Sen. Boxer said, and require all poultry producers to identify added ingredients, such as salted water, in larger print than is now required.

Source: Meatingplace



http://www.worldpoultry.net/news/usda-urged-to-apply-limits-to-injected-poultry-products-7148.html

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bacterial Salad, Anyone?

Ordering one Caesar salad; Hold the bacteria!

When you think of eating salad, you think healthy. But Consumer Reports recently found that nearly 40 percent of bagged salad we tested had unacceptable levels of bacteria, including indicators for fecal matter! Yes, fecal matter means exactly what you think it means – and signals that not enough is being done to keep salad free of bacteria that can cause vomiting, diarrhea and worse.

Shockingly, the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t have a limit on fecal coliforms or other indicator organisms in bagged salad or fresh leafy greens – even though they have such standards for drinking water, dairy products and beef. And this despite horrible illnesses and deaths linked in recent years to contaminated bagged spinach and other fresh produce.

A bill stalled right now in the Senate would require the FDA set these limits, but consumers shouldn’t wait for Congress to get its act together. Tell the FDA to set standards on bacteria in bagged salad and leafy greens now!

The agency has opened up a special docket for 90 days to take your comments on preventing safety problems in fresh produce – tell them your thoughts. (Please note that the docket is public record, and your name and comments will be part of that public record).


Click on title above for full Consumer Report;


http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2010/march/recalls-and-safety-alerts/bagged-salad/index.htm

Food Inc. A Movie Big Ag Does NOT Want U 2 C

15-Minute Cinema: “Food, Inc.”


47,000 items in the supermarket, almost all of them the “idea” of food rather than actual food.

Have we been eating corporate art these last 50 years instead of our vegetables?

Take a look at the trailer for Robert Kenner’s Food, Inc., a documentary Alice Waters says is the film she’s been waiting for all her life, and that Variety says does for food what Jaws did for the beach.


Click on title above for official movie trailer;

http://trueslant.com/vickiekarp/2009/08/01/15-minute-cinema-food-inc/

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Avandia Maker Hides Dangers of Drug frum Public, w/ Help of the FDA

NaturalNews) GlaxoSmithKline, maker of the diabetes drug Avandia, knew the drug was linked to tens of thousands of heart attacks but went out of its way to hide this information from the public, says a 334-page report just released by the Senate Finance Committee. (http://finance.senate.gov/press/Gpr...)

This report also accuses the FDA of betraying the public trust, explaining that FDA bureaucrats intentionally dismissed safety concerns found by the agency's own scientists.

The report says that Big Pharma's drugs "put public safety at risk because the FDA has been too cozy with drug makers and has been regularly outmaneuvered by companies that have a financial interest in downplaying or under-exploring potential safety risks." Sales of Avandia were $3.2 billion (yes, billion) in 2006.

According to a statistical analysis in the report, if all the diabetics currently taking Avandia were put on a "safer" drug, it would avert 500 heart attacks and 300 cases of heart failure every month in the United States alone. Presently, hundreds of thousands of Americans are still taking this drug, and hundreds will continue to die each month as a result, according to the report estimates.

This report, championed by U.S. Senators Grassley and Baucus, is the result of investigators pouring through more than 250,000 pages of documentation gathered from GlaxoSmithKline and the FDA. The document reveals some rather startling facts about the dangers of Avandia, including evidence from the FDA's own scientists who concluded that Avandia was associated with 83,000 heart attacks.



GlaxoSmithKline intimidates scientists
This investigative report also reveals that GSK engaged in the intimidation of physicians, saying: "GSK executives attempted to intimidate independent physicians, focused on strategies to minimize or misrepresent findings that Avandia may increase cardiovascular risk and sought ways to downplay findings that a competing drug might reduce cardiovascular risk."

"Patients trust drug companies with their health and their lives, and GlaxoSmithKline abused that trust." said Sen. Baucus. (Gee, really? Is anyone really surprised that GSK put its own financial interests ahead of a few thousand human lives?)

A separate letter sent to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg by Senators Baucus and Grassley added, "the totality of evidence suggests that GSK was aware of the possible cardiac risks associated with Avandia years before such evidence became public."

The FDA's own research also showed Avandia to be associated with a significant increase in heart attack risk, yet the FDA did nothing to protect the public. The agency's own scientists wrote in 2008, "There is strong evidence that rosiglitazone [Avandia] confers an increased risk of [heart attacks] and heart failure compared to pioglitazone [a rival drug on market]." This evidence went completely ignored at the FDA.

The FDA's famous Dr David Graham -- the key whistleblower on the Vioxx scandal -- concluded from his own research, "Rosiglitazone should be removed from the market."

Even the American Medical Association -- a long-time defender of Big Pharma's drugs -- admitted Avandia was dangerous. Its journal, JAMA, wrote in 2007: "Among patients with impaired glucose tolerance or type 2 diabetes, rosiglitazone use for at least 12 months is associated with a significantly increased risk of myocardial infarction and heart failure, without a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular mortality."

The New England Journal of Medicine also warned about the safety of the drug in an article published in 2007.

Despite these multiple warnings, an FDA panel voted 22 - 1 in favor of keeping Avandia on the market. This is no surprise, of course, to those who know how the FDA really operates (and where its priorities really lie).



Analysis: What does it all mean?
Are you kidding me? A drug company hid data that its high-profit drug was linked to increased risk of heart attacks? A drug company intimidated physicians and got away with hoodwinking the public while raking in billions of dollars in sales for a drug that the FDA's own scientists said should be pulled from the market?





http://www.naturalnews.com/028233_GlaxoSmithKline_Avandia.html

Monday, February 22, 2010

Serious birth defects linked to the agricultural chemical atrazine

Monday, February 22, 2010 by: S. L. Baker, features writer


Click on title above for original article;

http://www.naturalnews.com/028222_atrazine_birth_defects.html

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Everything Wants to Kill You

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 (SF Gate)
Hi! Everything wants to kill you
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist



Then I happened to read a charming, albeit nauseating little news item
that tried to skulk by unnoticed recently, wherein is was announced that
the Huntington Meat Packing Co. of Southern California was expanding its
recall of possibly E. coli-tainted meat, from just over 860,000 pounds to
... wait for it ... five million pounds.

Five million pounds of bad meat. Sounds like a fun movie title. Or maybe a
nickname for Congress. While pondering the number, I did some quick math.
But being lousy at math, I also did some quick research.

All-knowing Google informed me that the average head of cattle, say a
1,200-pound animal, results in something like 500 pounds of usable meat,
give or take. Interesting! Or not.

Ergo, five million pounds is the rough and chopped-up output of about
10,000 animals. Ten thousand head of cattle is, freakishly, only about a
tenth -- if that -- of what the largest industrial feedlots in Idaho,
Texas, California, Nebraska and elsewhere have on their tortured and
tormented, methane-choked properties at any given moment (Broken Bow in
Nebraska can hold 85,000 head. Simplot in Idaho can process up to 150,000.
ConAgra's frightening Montfort lot in reeking Greely, Colo. is so big it
chokes your very soul). Which is just all sorts of disgusting. But there
it is.

(Oh and btw, five million pounds of meat is also the equivalent of about
30,000 average-weighted humans, or one big, sold-out Dave Matthews concert
in San Jose. Hey, we're all dead meat in the end).

It gets so you lose sight of the scale of things. Five million pounds?
Seems like a lot. It seems epic and sickening and a little horrifying.

And then you realize that it's not. Really it's just a drop in the giant
meatbucket that is the Western diet, a thimbleful of the staggering
tonnage of industrial foodstuffs we consume every day, much of it loaded
with poison and antibiotics and hormones and environmental burden; that
includes millions of enormous animals that should be eating grass but are
instead being force-fed land-ravaging grains and 10 billion gallons of
drugs per year so we may satisfy our ravenous appetites for far, far more
unhealthy meat than we actually need.

Which in turns makes you sort of amazed that there aren't more meat
recalls, more epidemics and outbreaks, more McDonald's restaurants
spontaneously combusting from all the chemicals. It makes you wonder why
the hell we aren't all dead right this very moment. Perhaps we are? Wait,
is this heaven? Nah. Just the Internet.

Speaking of McDonald's. Did you hear? A woman was sitting in the
McDonald's over in the Great Mall in Milpitas just recently, consuming her
capitalism-approved portion of hormone-blasted industrial feedlot beef and
HFCS-injected everything (though, to be fair, it could have been one of
their "healthy" prepackaged nuclear salads), when, of course, she went
into labor.

And she gave birth, right there in the food court, in the McDonald's, in a
giant suburban shopping mall, because there is possibly no more
quintessentially American scenario than birthing a human being in a fast
food outlet in a shopping mall food court, unless she also happened to be
thinking about firearms, watching "American Idol" and listening to Dave
Matthews whilst something something NASCAR.

Reading that story, it was impossible for me not to note how this woman,
this divine fertile feminine life force, was likely consuming some of the
worst possible processed foodstuffs imaginable right up to the moment she
birthed a human baby -- a child, we can politely surmise, that had been
nourished though much of its gestation by a veritable pharmacy of
bloodstream toxins, fats and salts and corn syrups, synthetic flavorings
and hormones from that selfsame feedlot beef.

Do you think this new mom was also was perhaps drinking a fine beverage
made by the Coca-Cola corporation at the moment of labor pains? Sipping
maybe a Dr. Pepper or a Sprite? The odds are reasonably good she was, a
Coca-Cola product being something of a prerequisite to browsing Champs,
Foot Locker and Kay Jewelers in any shopping complex in modern America.

Mmm, soda. Have you heard that soda is the new tobacco? A demon in angel's
clothing? Well, it is. Quite the sickening swill, really, far more
unhealthy and dangerous than we readily acknowledge because gosh, how can
something so happy, so all-American, so polar-bear Christmastime Homer
Simpson I'd-like-to-teach-the-world-to-sing wonderful, possibly be all
sorts of cancerous and sickening and Sarah Palin-grade wrong? Well, it is.

Like cigarettes, they say soda is in dire need of regulation, heavy
taxation, warning labels, the works. Do you imagine Coca-Cola cares all
that much about the anti-soda campaign being waged against its wares right
now? Hell yes, it does. But maybe not as much as you think, given how it
has pretty much maxed out the U.S market anyway. After all, how many blue
sports drinks, pink energy beverages and nefarious Coke Minis can you cram
down one country's gullet? We simply can't get much less healthy. Time to
move on.

And so it did. The Coca-Cola company just reported big profits last
quarter, despite how there's no one left in America to poison (except the
tiny, precious children). Do you know how it did it? Can you guess how it
made more millions? That's right: by slowly poisoning India, China and
Brazil.

They call them "emerging markets," because these countries are just now
emerging from millennia of drinking various liquids that were not
exceedingly good at killing them by way of high fructose corn syrup and
unpronounceable chemical additives. What, the western gift of fast food,
industrial meat and oil dependency weren't enough? Let's give them all
diabetes and obesity and even worse teeth? Fabulous. Have a Coke and a
smile, indeed.

It doesn't really matter. Might as well eat that industrial burger and
inhale a giant Coke as you speed down the freeway in your tiny Japanese
car. Do you know why? Because your airbag may kill you anyway.

Amid the furor over Toyota's massive recall of stuck accelerator pedals, a
lesser-seen item about Honda Motor Corporation, itself quietly recalling
about a half-million Accords and Civics over dangerously high airbag
pressure, which they say could knock you dead if deployed.

Wait, what? Death by airbag? Isn't that just a little bit of irony
overload? Isn't that a comedy routine somewhere? In hell, perhaps? Then
again, it would be a simply spectacular way to go, really, if you think
about it, if you really love irony, if you think God is basically just a
wickedly devious cosmic trickster. I mean, why the hell not?

It all balances out in the end, anyway. It's all just the grand and
dreamlike circus spinning and laughing and churning its cotton candy
profundity into the Void. For every adult human ironically sent to the
great feedlot in the sky by a misbehaving automotive safety device, a
child is born in a shopping mall food court, pre-addicted to Quarter
Pounders, ready to take on the overheated, surreal world all over again.
And lo, the great play continues ...

Join Mark on Facebook and Twitter. Email him here.

Mark Morford's column appears every Wednesday and Friday on SFGate. To
join the notification list for this column, click here and remove one
article of clothing. To get on Mark's personal mailing list (appearances,
books, blogs, yoga and more), click here and remove three more. His
website is right here.

This column also has an RSS feed and a very handy archive page.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright 2010 SF Gate

Big Pharma Researcher Caught Faking Reports

A Big Pharma clinical trial researcher has been caught faking dozens of research studies for the top drug companies -- studies that were published in "scientific" medical journals.

The data that "proved" the effectiveness of some of pharma's most profitable drugs was simply created out of thin air!

Read original article by clicking on title above: http://www.naturalnews.com/028194_Scott_Reuben_research_fraud.html

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Report: Antibiotics in Livestock Production cause Antibiotic Resistance in Humans

ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE AND AGRICULTURAL USES - USA
***********************************************
A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases


[1]
Date: 12 Feb 2010
Source: The Farmer [edited]



Media reports are associating the use of antibiotics in livestock
production with antibiotic resistance in humans. Iowa State University
veterinary professor Dr. Scott Hurd, who is a former USDA Deputy
Undersecretary for Food Safety, says this concern is not based in
science. Hurd emphasizes that pork producers adopt withdrawal periods
for antibiotics, which protects the meat supply [but see comment to
[2] below]. The main issue is actually resistant organisms, so Hurd
says it is a much bigger, more difficult topic.

In 2000, Denmark implemented a blanket ban on preventative
antibiotics. That ban has been repeatedly highlighted in media reports
about antibiotic resistance. Hurd, who spent some time in Denmark as
the ban was moving forward, is able to offer some perspective on the
Danish ban.

"Immediately after that ban, in swine, the number of pigs that had to
be treated for illness actually doubled, and that trend continued for
many years after the ban," Hurd said. "The World Health Organization
did a study in 2002, and they said very clearly they could find no
evidence that human health has actually improved or that risk has
actually been reduced."

The media has unfairly portrayed this as a food safety story. Hurd
says an antibiotic ban would actually decrease the health of meat
animals entering the food supply.

"Antibiotics and other treatments and management are used in livestock
in order to produce healthy animals, which result in healthy food,"
Hurd said. "As the deputy undersecretary, I was in charge of all food
and meat inspection in the United States. Our 1st concern is to make
sure that no unhealthy animal enters the food chain, so obviously,
healthy animals are an important part of that; antibiotics are an
important part of making animals healthy and getting those into the
food chain."

--
Communicated by:
ProMED-mail

******
[2]
Date: 13 Feb 2010
Source: Des Moines Register [edited]



(H. Scott Hurd is now an associate professor in the College of
Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University. Contact:
13 Feb 2010.)

As former deputy undersecretary for food safety at the U.S. Department
of Agriculture and a scientist who has actively researched food safety
for over 20 years, I'm disappointed by recent media reports blaming
antibiotic use in livestock for most antibiotic resistance in humans.

Consumers should know that Methicillin-resistant _Staphylococcus
aureus_ (MRSA) mentioned in these reports is not a food-borne disease
and not usually from animals. Normally, the strain found in pigs is
different than that found in humans. The Centers for Disease Control
(CDC) has concluded, after investigating numerous human outbreaks of
MRSA infections in the United States, none of these investigations had
animal exposure as a risk factor. The CDC concludes the vast majority
of infections result from person-to-person transmission of MRSA in the
community, not the farm.

Of course, farmers should not use antibiotics unless they are needed.
However, national lawmakers who are pursuing a misguided blanket ban
on certain antibiotics uses in livestock haven't considered sound
science.

As President Obama said last year [2009], "We must make scientific
decisions based on facts, not ideology." I fully agree. Bacteria are
nonpartisan. _Salmonella_ and _Staphylococcus_ don't vote and don't
watch TV. The basic principles of microbiology, animal disease
prevention, food production and risk assessment apply equally to us
all. If new policies are not built on accurate science, they won't
work; they won't make the world a safer place. This issue impacts me
not just as a scientist, but also as the father of 8 children.

I don't accept antibiotics in my meat! And, it is critically important
to understand that meat consumed in America is to be free from
antibiotic residues. The presence of residues is illegal. As a former
leader in the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service, I can assure you
the system checks carefully for the presence of this stuff in meat.
However, today's concern is about the possibility of resistant bacteria.

My years of experience and research in the food safety field have led
me to the following conclusion: The published scientific risk
assessments done to date (some I have published) on antibiotic use in
livestock demonstrate an extremely low to nonexistent human health
risk from resistant bacteria.

Therefore, the public health and political benefit of antibiotic bans
will be low, nonexistent or even contrary to public health. As a
veterinarian of over 25 years, I believe antibiotic bans may lead to
secondary public health consequences from the consumption of unhealthy
animals, not to mention added suffering of sick animals. Experience
teaches that evaluation of human health risk and the value of banning
certain antibiotics must be made on a case-by-case basis; blanket bans
are not effective.

The effects of such blanket bans are apparent in Denmark. After
Denmark passed its ban on preventive antibiotics in 2000, the World
Health Organization found no measurable public health benefit, partly
because farmers were forced to use more antibiotics to treat sick
pigs: 100 percent more. Those secondary health impacts of the ban and
the costs to producers haven't been covered in recent media reports.

If you truly value food safety for your family as much as I do, you'll
realize that an antibiotic ban will actually decrease the health of
meat animals entering the food chain. Science shows us that the
continued safety of our food supply depends on allowing responsible
farmers, with veterinary direction, to continue making decisions based
on best science and experience. The choice is ours. Let's make it on
what's sound science, which is best for us all.

--
Communicated by:
ProMED-mail

[When I contacted Scott Hurd for any comments on The Farmer article,
he replied: "I have no objection to the item from FARMERS, except I
did NOT say farmers should adopt early withdrawal. I may have said
something to the effect that animals should not be given antibiotics
unless they need them. For info on my other comments, you can see the
link below. Also, I will send this weekend's editorial."

The editorial the Des Moines Register is above in [2].

His "other comments" can be seen in: "ISU Associate Professor and
Former USDA Deputy Undersecretary Food Safety Responds to CBS News
Segments on Antibiotics - Feb. 9 and 10:

Key Facts Disagree with CBS
Evening News Segment on Antibiotics," aired on 9 Feb 2010
.
As this is lengthy and detailed, I have not attempted to shorten it.
It is well worth reading.CLICK ON TITLE ABOVE TO SEE MR HURDS REPLY TO CBS REPORT

Our thanks to Scott for responding so fully. - Mod.MHJ]

[The issue is also which antibiotics. When antibiotics are used that
are of a class that contains parenteral antibiotics critical to human
health, and resistance emerges in bacteria, it can be a real problem.

Probable examples of the results of use in animal food are:
- avoparcin, a glycolipid, probably led to vancomycin-resistant enteroccocci;
- virginiamycin probably led to quinupristin/dalfopristin-resistant
_E. faecium_; and
- quinolones probably resulted in resistant campylobacter and salmonella.

Drugs such as bacitracin which have no parenteral class use in humans
are not a
problem. - Mod.DK]

[see also:
2000
----
Antibiotic resistance & agricultural uses - USA (02) 20000511.0718
Antibiotic resistance & agricultural uses - USA 20000429.0649
Antibiotic resistance, surveillance - Europe 20000103.0003
1998
----
Antibiotic resistance trends - Europe 19990204.0170
Antibiotic resistance: Internet surveillance (02) 19981219.2407
Antibiotic resistance: Internet surveillance 19981216.2373
Antibiotic resistance, livestock - USA 19980807.1542
Antibiotic resistance, livestock - USA 19980805.1509]
..............................................mhj/msp/jw
*##########################################################*
************************************************************
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are posted, but the accuracy and completeness of the
information, and of any statements or opinions based
thereon, are not guaranteed. The reader assumes all risks in
using information posted or archived by ProMED-mail. ISID
and its associated service providers shall not be held
responsible for errors or omissions or held liable for any
damages incurred as a result of use or reliance upon posted
or archived material.
************************************************************
Donate to ProMED-mail. Details available at:

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Send all items for posting to: promed@promedmail.org
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Campbell Condenses Marketing Plan, Healthier, Home-Grown Vegs




but still no "cruelty-free" meat

Campbell Outlines Growth Plans for U.S. Condensed Soup Business
Comprehensive Measures Span All Aspects of Condensed Soup: Enhanced Quality, Healthier Offerings, New Marketing

CAMDEN, N.J., Feb 17, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- --Reiterates Fiscal 2010 Full-Year Adjusted Net EPS and EBIT Guidance, Lowers Full-Year Sales Guidance

Campbell Soup Company /quotes/comstock/13*!cpb/quotes/nls/cpb (CPB 33.65, +0.06, +0.18%) today announced a comprehensive plan to boost the performance of its condensed soup portfolio in the United States, a business that generated more than $1 billion in net sales in fiscal 2009. Campbell plans to enhance more than 60 percent of its condensed line with product improvements, further sodium reduction, more contemporary packaging, improved shelving systems and new marketing aimed at the simple meals category.

These upcoming plans for condensed soup build on Campbell's substantial investments in its entire U.S. Soup business over the last several years, designed to improve the quality, convenience, variety and wellness profile across its portfolio. As a result of these investments, Campbell has increased net sales of U.S. soup every year since 2003.

Douglas R. Conant, Campbell's President and CEO, said, "We are committed to accelerating the performance of our existing portfolio, most notably in U.S. soup, and continuing to lay the foundation for superior long-term growth. We are going to fire up our important condensed soup business and step up the competitive posture of our ready-to-serve products to accelerate both our top- and bottom-line growth."

Conant continued, "With the improvements and innovations we've made over the past several years and our plans for next year, we will be able to unleash soup's full competitiveness against the simple meals category. We are now in a position to reframe the way we compete in the broader simple meals category. Our new marketing efforts will further position soup as a key part of a healthy, well-balanced simple meal and help consumers make more informed choices. We will build on the success of our high-margin, market-leading condensed soup franchise--enhancing its quality, making it healthier and increasing its relevance. We are confident that our continued investments will make 'Campbell's' condensed soup even more relevant and contemporary for today's consumers."

Updated Fiscal 2010 Guidance

Campbell reiterated its full-year guidance for adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) growth of 6 to 7 percent and adjusted net earnings per share growth of 9 to 11 percent from the fiscal 2009 adjusted base of $2.21. The company revised its fiscal 2010 guidance for sales growth to 2.5 to 3.5 percent from the prior range of 4 to 5 percent. A detailed reconciliation of the adjusted fiscal 2009 information to the reported information is included at the end of this news release.

Major Plans for Condensed Soup

Campbell has a number of innovations planned for its U.S. condensed soup business in fiscal 2011:

-- Expanded Healthy Offerings. Campbell plans to expand its industry-leading sodium reduction program and to reduce the sodium content in 23 of its condensed soups by up to 45 percent. Following this effort, almost half of "Campbell's" condensed soup portfolio will have sodium levels at 480 milligrams or less per serving, considered healthy by the U.S. government. Every major condensed variety will either be reduced in sodium or be available in a lower sodium option. Additionally, Campbell will improve the flavor in all 26 varieties of its chicken soups and use a specially roasted chicken meat.

-- More Contemporary Appeal. Campbell will update the labels of its popular condensed soups with a more contemporary design and new photography that will highlight the soup's appearance and appeal. The familiar red and white colors will remain, but changes to other visual elements will evoke a new and different way for consumers to think about "Campbell's" condensed soup. Campbell conducted extensive research with consumers to ensure the new labels hit the mark, including cutting-edge research methods that measured consumers' biometric responses along with ethnographic interviews. Research indicated that the new labels increased purchase intent among consumers. The company plans to use the new labels, which retain key brand equity elements, on all varieties of its condensed soup, except Chicken Noodle, Cream of Mushroom and Tomato.

-- Improved Shopping Experience. Campbell plans to redesign its popular gravity-fed shelving system, installed at 24,000 retailers nationally and credited for rejuvenating the soup aisle, expanding the category and vastly improving the shopping experience. Designed to make the category easier to browse and to spur incremental purchases, the new configuration will include improved navigation, color coding, more striking graphics and a new layout across four key eating and cooking consumer-focused segments: Classic Favorites, Taste Sensations, Healthy & Delicious and Healthy Kids. Partnering with its retail customers, Campbell plans to convert all 24,000 systems over the next 12 months. Campbell also used biometric and ethnographic research techniques to redesign the gravity-fed shelving system. In addition, the company plans to roll-out new portable gravity-fed systems, called "Canvertables," providing ideal secondary displays throughout a store. Campbell has more than 8,000 portable units in place and plans to increase that number to more than 12,000 this year and 15,000 in fiscal 2011.

-- New Marketing within Simple Meals. Campbell has new advertising in development to position soup and dishes made with soup as a simple meal. The new campaign will highlight the fact that soups are an affordable, tasty and nourishing alternative versus several other popular simple meals. The company also intends to better leverage its scale in its U.S. soup marketing efforts and is developing an overarching ad campaign designed to create stronger linkage across its soup brands.

-- Celebrating American-grown Ingredients. Campbell will promote the fact that the vegetables in "Campbell's" condensed soup are grown on American farms, including carrots, celery, potatoes and tomatoes. The company will continue to highlight its relationships with American family farmers that date back several generations.

The new and improved soups will be available at retail in August 2010.

Conant will share details with investors and the news media at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference in Boca Raton, Fla., today at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time. A webcast of the presentation will be available at www.campbellsoupcompany.com under the "Shareholder Event / Webcast Information" banner.

About Campbell Soup Company

Campbell Soup Company is a global manufacturer and marketer of high-quality foods and simple meals, including soup, baked snacks, and healthy beverages. Founded in 1869, the company has a portfolio of market-leading brands, including "Campbell's," "Pepperidge Farm," "Arnott's," and "V8." For more information on the company, visit Campbell's website at www.CampbellSoup.com

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains "forward-looking statements" that reflect the company's current expectations about the impact of its future plans and performance on sales, earnings, and margins. These forward-looking statements rely on a number of assumptions and estimates that could be inaccurate and which are subject to risks and uncertainties. The factors that could cause the company's actual results to vary materially from those anticipated or expressed in any forward-looking statement include (1) the impact of strong competitive responses to the company's efforts to leverage its brand power in the market; (2) the risks associated with trade and consumer acceptance of the company's initiatives; (3) the company's ability to realize projected cost savings and benefits; (4) the company's ability to manage changes to its business processes; (5) the increased significance of certain of the company's key trade customers; (6) the impact of fluctuations in the supply or costs of energy and raw and packaging materials; (7) the risks associated with portfolio changes; (8) the uncertainties of litigation; (9) the impact of changes in currency exchange rates, tax rates, interest rates, debt and equity markets, inflation rates, economic conditions and other external factors; (10) the impact of unforeseen business disruptions in one or more of the company's markets due to political instability, civil disobedience, armed hostilities, natural disasters or other calamities; and (11) other factors described in the company's most recent Form 10-K and subsequent Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The company disclaims any obligation or intent to update the forward-looking statements in order to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this release.

Reconciliation of GAAP and Non-GAAP Financial Measures Fiscal Year 2009 Net Earnings Per Share

Campbell Soup Company uses certain non-GAAP financial measures as defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission in certain communications. These non-GAAP financial measures are measures of performance not defined by accounting principles generally accepted in the United States and should be considered in addition to, not in lieu of, GAAP reported measures.

Items Impacting Diluted Net Earnings Per Share

The company believes that financial information excluding certain transactions not considered to be part of the ongoing business improves the comparability of year-to-year results. Consequently, the company believes that investors may be able to better understand its earnings results if these transactions are excluded.

The following items impacted diluted net earnings per share:

(1) In fiscal 2008, the company announced initiatives to improve operational efficiency and long-term profitability, including selling certain salty snack food brands and assets in Australia, closing certain production facilities in Australia and Canada, and streamlining the company's management structure. In fiscal 2009, the company recorded expenses related to these initiatives of $15 million after tax, or $0.04 per share.

(2) In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009, as part of the company's annual review of intangible assets, a non-cash impairment charge of $47 million after tax, or $0.13 per share, was recorded related to certain European trademarks, primarily in Germany and the Nordic region.

(3) In the second quarter of fiscal 2009, the company recorded a $4 million tax benefit, or $0.01 per share, in discontinued operations related to the sale of the Godiva Chocolatier business.

The table below reconciles financial information, presented in accordance with GAAP, to financial information excluding certain transactions:

Year Ended
Aug. 2, 2009
Diluted net earnings per share, as reported (a) $ 2.05
Add: Net adjustment from restructuring related costs (1) 0.04
Add: Net non-cash impairment charge on intangible assets (2) 0.13
Deduct: Tax benefit from the sale of the Godiva Chocolatier business (0.01)
(3)
Adjusted Diluted net earnings per share (a) $ 2.21




(a) In the first quarter of fiscal 2010, the company adopted and retrospectively applied new accounting guidance related to the calculation of earnings per share. The retrospective application of the provision resulted in a reduction of the previously reported and adjusted diluted net earnings per share of $0.01 for fiscal 2009.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=6182150&lang=en

SOURCE: Campbell Soup Company

Campbell Soup Company
Anthony Sanzio (Media)
856-968-4390
or
John Faulkner (Media)
856-342-3738
or
Jennifer Driscoll (Analysts)
856-342-6081




http://www.marketwatch.com/story/campbell-outlines-growth-plans-for-us-condensed-soup-business-2010-02-17?reflink=MW_news_stmp

The World Vaccine Congress 2010: You're Invited

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

USDA enhances integrity, defensibility of farm programs

Well this is good news. The USDA to be more careful about handing out farm-subs since a recent GAO Report indicated that they had misappropriated millions in the past, giving subs to wealthy farmers and ranchers not entitled or qualified to recieve them and in some cases cutting checks to DEAD FOLK!

Read more about that in the link below;
http://madcowhorses.blogspot.com/2009/04/usda-harvesting-cash-from-your-pockets.html

and now, on to the story;


The Daily Reporter

Posted Feb 15, 2010 @ 02:21 PM
East Lansing, Mich. —

Christine White, Executive Director of USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Michigan, recently announced that USDA is partnering with the Internal Revenue Service to reduce fraud in farm programs and streamlining payment limits for family farmers.

“This new USDA-IRS partnership is intended to help USDA participants meet the requirements in the 2008 Farm Bill” said White. “This new policy will protect USDA participants and ensure overall program integrity”

USDA has finalized a Memorandum of Understanding with the Internal Revenue Service to establish an electronic information exchange process for verifying compliance with the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) provisions for farm programs. Written consent will be required from each producer or payment recipient for the tax review process. No actual tax data will be included in the report that IRS sends to USDA.

This agreement will ensure that payments are not issued to producers whose AGI exceeds certain limits. The limits set in the 2008 Farm Bill are $500,000 non-farm average AGI for commodity and disaster programs; $750,000 farm average AGI for direct payments; and $1 million non-farm average AGI for conservation programs. White also reminds producers the 2010 DCP/ACRE signup is underway and will end June 1.





http://www.thedailyreporter.com/newsnow/x1631832008/USDA-enhances-integrity-defensibility-of-farm

Q-Fever on the Rise in Netherlands; Gov Says Not Too Worry

Q-Fever was only one of the zootonic diseases the USA is/was experimenting with as a biological weapon

Click on title to see vid

Monday, February 15, 2010

USDA Tightens Organic Standards on Dairy and Livestock

by Sara Novak, Columbia, SC on 02.14.10
Food & Health (food)

As organic food has grown in popularity so too have the size of organic dairies and farms in this country. And in the last ten years questions have been raised about whether these large scale so-called organic dairies and farms have been abiding by all of the regulations which define them as organic in the first place. Some of the regulations themselves have been a bit gray and lacking in clarity. Issues have been specifically raised about whether enormous farms have been confining livestock excessively, without regard for the animals. Now the USDA has introduced tighter regulations to bring clarity to the amount of time organic livestock should actually be grazing.

The USDA is working to clear up some questions regarding how much of an organic livestock's life should be spent grazing. This is an issue that, according to the Cornucopia Institute, was continually skirted by the Bush Administration. Now it appears that the Obama Administration is picking up the slack. The Obama Administration recently suspended Promiseland Livestock, the nation's largest organic livestock producers with over 22,000 head of cattle, for not allowing the USDA to inspect financial and organic records.

New USDA Organic Regulations
The new rules go into effect in June of this year. They state that at least 30 percent of food cows' ingest must come from grazing. If the dairy farm is located in a mild climate like California, cows will be expected to graze even more than the 120 days mandated as a minimum by law. Organic beef standards will also be tightened. Organic cattle, goats, buffalo, and sheep must be able to graze as well. Although in the last four months of life, certain diet regulations can be eliminated.

More on the USDA:
USDA Investigates Cornucopia Allegations Against Wal-Mart
USDA Classifies PETA as a Terrorist Threat
USDA Waters Down Organic Standards





http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/02/usda-cracks-down-on-organics.php

PTB to Collaborate: 1st FrankenMeat, Now, FrankenWheat

Collaborated Public/Private Wheat Variety Development Sought
Source: NAWG

The nation's leading wheat-grower organizations have adopted policy that advocates cooperation between land-grant universities and private companies in order to develop improved wheat varieties. The policy, called "Principles of Collaboration in Wheat Breeding and Biotechnology," gives state wheat commissions, wheat breeders and land-grant universities with public wheat breeding programs guidelines to follow when developing collaborations and agreements with private industry.

The Principles of Collaboration were adopted by U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) during the groups' winter meetings. In the last year, several agriculture technology firms have announced plans to enter the wheat variety development business. These firms could incorporate non-biotech molecular technologies to improve wheat variety development; these technologies have already been proven successful in corn and soybean breeding programs.

Eventually, this private investment will lead to a wide array of improved wheat varieties that could eventually feature biotech traits. U.S. Wheat and NAWG have publicly supported the development of biotech wheat for several years in order to meet growing demand for wheat around the world.

"For too long, wheat has failed to capitalize on private investment into wheat variety development," says Joe Kejr, past chairman of the NAWG/U.S. Wheat Joint Biotech Committee and a farmer near Brookville, KS. "Meanwhile, competing crops have made huge strides in yield, agronomic traits and end-use efficiency.

"The wheat industry has worked together on these Principles of Collaboration, which establish a protocol by which private investment in wheat will proceed. In the end, these collaborations will lead to a host of new wheat varieties for wheat farmers, giving them additional options to find varieties that suit their agronomic and geographic needs."

A key component to giving growers more options is to allow private companies access to the vast library of publicly held germplasm at land-grant universities. In turn, private industry can offer new access to advanced, high-volume breeding technologies to the public universities, adds Justin Gilpin, Kansas Wheat CEO.

Private investment into wheat variety research will be vital to feed the world's population in coming years, says David Baltensperger, who sits on the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University and is head of the university's Department of Crops and Soils at the University. Wheat is the world's most widely consumed grain and, with the lack of investment in wheat technology combined with dwindling natural resources, the world's wheat farmers will not be able to grow enough wheat to meet demand, he says.

"We see an ever-increasing, higher protein portion of the diet for more people, which will take more grains. We are looking at very large demand to meet the same caloric intake in the future as what we have today," says Baltensperger. "Worldwide, we need to expand production of wheat. It will take new traits and new technologies to do that."



http://license.icopyright.net/user/viewContent.act?clipid=453444887

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Biological Weapons in the USA

Click on title above for a wikipedia overview and be sure to note the post-ban section which states;

Both the U.S. bio-weapons ban and the Biological Weapons Convention restricted any work in the area of biological warfare to defensive in nature. In reality, this gives BWC member-states wide latitude to conduct BW research because the BWC contains no provisions for monitoring of enforcement.[25][26] The treaty, essentially, is a gentlemen's agreement amongst members backed by the long-prevailing thought that biological warfare should not be used in battle.[25]

After Nixon declared an end to the U.S. bio-weapons program debate in the Army centered around whether or not toxin weapons were included in the president's declaration.[19] Following Nixon's November 1969 order, scientists at Fort Detrick worked on one toxin, Staphylococcus enterotoxin type B (SEB), for several more months.[19] Nixon ended the debate when he added toxins to the bio-weapons ban in February 1970.[17] The U.S. also ran a series of experiments with anthrax, code named Project Bacchus, Project Clear Vision and Project Jefferson in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

In recent years certain critics have claimed the U.S. stance on biological warfare and the use of biological agents has differed from historical interpretations of the BWC.[27] For example, it is said that the U.S. now maintains that the Article I of the BWC (which explicitly bans bio-weapons), does not apply to "non-lethal" biological agents.[27] Previous interpretation was stated to be in line with a definition laid out in Public Law 101-298, the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989.[28] That law defined a biological agent as:[28]

any micro-organism, virus, infectious substance, or biological product that may be engineered as a result of biotechnology, or any naturally occurring or bioengineered component of any such microorganism, virus, infectious substance, or biological product, capable of causing death, disease, or other biological malfunction in a human, an animal, a plant, or another living organism; deterioration of food, water, equipment, supplies, or material of any kind...

According to the Federation of American Scientists, U.S. work on non-lethal agents exceeds limitations in the BWC.[27]

[edit] Agents and weapons
When the U.S. BW program ended in 1969 it had developed seven mass-produced, battle-ready biological weapons in the form of agents that cause: anthrax, tularemia, brucellosis, Q-fever, VEE, and botulism.[10] In addition Staphylococcal Enterotoxin B was produced as an incapacitating agent.[10] In addition to the agents that were ready to be used the U.S. program conducted research into the weaponization of more than 20 other agents. They included: (among others) smallpox, EEE and WEE, AHF, Hantavirus, BHF, Lassa fever, glanders,[29] melioidosis,[29] plague, yellow fever, psittacosis, typhus, dengue fever, Rift Valley fever (RVF), CHIKV, late blight of potato, rinderpest, Newcastle disease, bird flu, and the toxin ricin.[30]

Aids, a Biological Weapon for Population Control?

Click on title above to meet the man that created aids

Bayer, FDA Cover Up Aids Conspiracy

click on title to see report

Monday, February 8, 2010

BOTULISM, UNEVISCERATED FISH - USA: ex NORWAY, RISK, RECALL

***********************************************
A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases


Date: Fri 5 Feb 2010
Source: FDA [edited]



Haifa Smoked Fish, located in Queens, New York, is recalling Haifa
brand vacuum packaged Whole Schmaltz Herring with the lot number 20,
because the product was found to be uneviscerated.

The lot being recalled is a product of Norway, individually
vacuum-packed in clear plastic pouches with lot #20 indicated on the
label and distributed through various food retailers in the NY and NJ area.

The Whole Schmaltz Herring was sampled by a New York State
Agriculture and Markets Food Inspector during a routine inspection.
Subsequent analysis of the product by New York State Food Laboratory
personnel confirmed that Whole Schmaltz Herring was not properly
eviscerated prior to processing.

The sale of uneviscerated fish is prohibited under New York State
Agriculture and Markets regulations because _Clostridium botulinum_
spores are more likely to be concentrated in the viscera than any
other portion of the fish. Uneviscerated fish has been linked to
outbreaks of botulism poisoning.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

Consumers are warned not to use the product even if it does not look
or smell spoiled and should return it to the place of purchase.
Consumers with questions may contact the company at 718-523-8899.

--
Communicated by:
ProMED-mail Rapporteur Brent Barrett

[Because of the potential severity of botulism, ProMED-mail posts
such recalls even if, as in this case, there are no human cases
associated with the food products. Most of the food recalls (as in
these cases) are related to defective preparation procedures, which
could, but not necessarily do, result in the germination of viable
spores of _C. botulinum_. - Mod.LL]

[see also:
2009
----
Botulism, baby food, uneviscerated fish - USA: risk, recall 20091020.3599
Botulism, home canned green beans - USA: (WA) 20090310.0990
Botulism, uneviscerated fish - USA (02): risk, recall 20090228.0827
Botulism, uneviscerated fish - USA: (NY, NJ) risk, recall 20090120.0247
Botulism, dessert sauces - USA: risk, recall 20090126.0343
2008
----
Botulism, human, home canned green beans - USA: (OH) 20080919.2947
Botulism, native foods - USA: (AK) 2007 20080811.2472
Botulism, tea concentrate - USA: (MT, AZ) risk, recall 20080618.1903
Botulism, pesto - USA: risk, recall 20080429.1474
Botulism, canned bean salad - USA: risk, recall 20080229.0821
Botulism, olive oil dip - USA: risk, recall 20080204.0448
Botulism, fish - USA: (NY, NJ, MD), risk, recall 20080124.0299
Botulism, canned beans - USA (03): risk, bean salad recall 20080122.0264
Botulism, canned beans - USA: risk, expanded recall 20080109.0117
Botulism, canned soup - USA: (PA) recall, RFI 20080103.0030
Botulism, foie gras - France: risk, recall 20080102.0016
Botulism, canned food: aerosol risk 20080101.0008]
..................................ll/msp/mpp

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

PARECHOVIRUS, INFANT DEATHS - UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: (WISCONSIN) BACKGROUND

******************************************************************************
A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases


Date: Mon 1 Feb 2010
Source: Clin. Infect. Dis., 50 357-61 [edited]



Infant deaths associated with human parechovirus infection in Wisconsin
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Abstract:
---------
From December 1987 through August 2004, lung tissue, nasopharyngeal
swabs, and colon swab specimens obtained during 1263 autopsies of
infants and young children were examined to assess the role of viruses
in deaths of children aged less than 2 years.

Multiple cell cultures were used to isolate viruses. With 4
exceptions, virus isolates were identified by neutralization,
immunofluorescence assay, or enzyme immunoassay. RNA extracted from
these 4 isolates and associated autopsy specimens was tested using
parechovirus-specific real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and
sequencing assays.

Specimens from 426 (34 percent) autopsies were positive for at least 1
virus; enteroviruses and adenoviruses were the most commonly
identified. Human parechoviruses (HPeVs) were identified antigenically
in isolates from 18 decedents (all HPeV type1) and by RT-PCR in
isolates and multiple autopsy specimens from 4 decedents with
untypeable virus isolates. Sequencing of the VP1 region identified
these 4 HPeVs as HPeV type 3 and HPeV type 6. Despite the detection of
HPeV the deaths of decedents 3 and 4 were determined to have been from
noninfectious causes.

These are the 1st confirmed HPeV type 3 and HPeV type 6 detections in
the United States. This is also the initial report of fatal cases with
associated HPeV type 3 infection. These results support prior findings
associating HPeVs with serious disease in young children. Clinical
testing for HPeVs and routine HPeV surveillance by public health
laboratories will help determine the burden of disease caused by HPeVs.

[Byline: Gerald Sedmak,1; W. Allan Nix,4; Jeffrey Jentzen,2; Thomas E.
Haupt,3; Jeffrey P. Davis,3; Sanjib Bhattacharyya,1; Mark A.
Pallansch,4; M. Steven Oberste,4
At: 1Virology and Molecular Science Laboratory, City of Milwaukee
Health Department, 2Milwaukee County Medical ExaminerÂ’s Office,
Milwaukee, 3Bureau of Communicable Diseases, Wisconsin Division of
Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin; 4Division of Viral Diseases,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia]

--
Communicated by:
ProMED-mail


[These retrospective data relating to infant deaths in Wisconsin are
posted to increase awareness of the potential importance of
parechoviruses in human pediatric disease.

Human parechoviruses (HPeVs) are members of the large and growing
family of _Picornaviridae_. Although originally described as echovirus
22 and 23 within the human enteroviruses group because of their
clinical and morphological properties, they have since been shown to
be distinct from this and other picornavirus groups in several
features of their genome organisation, structure and replication.
Human parechoviruses show genetic and antigenic heterogeneity and a
number of distinct HPeV types are known to circulate widely in human
populations throughout the world.

Although the majority of HPeV infections occur early in life without
specific symptoms, disease manifestations associated with many of the
currently described types have been described, ranging from
gastroenteritis and respiratory infections to neurological disease,
particularly in neonates. Although HPeV diagnosis has historically
been made by virus isolation, a new generation of sensitive and
specific molecular tests for HPeV RNA promises to greatly improve the
effectiveness of HPeV detection and type identification, as well as
providing a greater understanding its molecular epidemiology. (For a
detailed account see the review 'Human parechoviruses: biology,
epidemiology and clinical significance,' by H. Harvala and P. Simonds,
Journal of Clinical Virology, 45(1):1-9, 2009

subscription required.

The state of Wisconsin can be located using the HealthMap/ProMED-mail
interactive map of the United States at
. - Mod.CP]
................lm/cp/ejp/JW
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ProMED-mail makes every effort to verify the reports that
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using information posted or archived by ProMED-mail. ISID
and its associated service providers shall not be held
responsible for errors or omissions or held liable for any
damages incurred as a result of use or reliance upon posted
or archived material.
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Friday, February 5, 2010

Dangerous Fibromyalgia Drug Should Be Pulled From the Market

Public Citizen Petition to FDA: Medication Has Limited Efficacy, Risky Effects

My Mother was on this drug for years before she died of a sudden stroke.

-----------------------

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The fibromyalgia drug Savella should immediately be taken off the market because its dangers outweigh its benefits, Public Citizen said today in a petition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The European regulatory authority, the European Medicines Agency (EMEA), rejected the drug’s approval for fibromyalgia in July 2009, stating that its benefits were “marginal” and “did not outweigh its risks.” This was shortly after the FDA approved the drug in January 2009. Since the drug went on the market in the U.S., approximately 250,000 prescriptions have been filled, with doctors writing more prescriptions every month.

In two randomized clinical trials, Savella, also known by its generic name milnacipran, was found to increase blood pressure, heart rate and suicidal thoughts, Public Citizen’s petition said. Among patients who had normal blood pressure at the beginning of the study, 19.5 percent of those who took Savella developed hypertension, compared to 7.2 percent of those on a placebo.

“Because Savella is a drug that produces only a marginal effect on pain, the main problem for which patients seek treatment, and has the potential to be quite dangerous, it is clear that it should not be sold,” said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. “The FDA never should have approved Savella for fibromyalgia and should now immediately order the drug company to remove it from the market before large numbers of people suffer serious harm,” Wolfe said.

Based on the extent of increased blood pressure caused by Savella, the FDA medical officer who reviewed the drug estimated that persistent blood pressure hikes could increase the risk of a cardiovascular event (including death, myocardial infarction and stroke) by up to 50 percent.

Savella also puts patients at risk for other disorders, including seizures, addiction, excessive bleeding, mood disorders, fractures, glaucoma and gastrointestinal effects such as nausea and vomiting. In pregnant women, the drug also can lead to hazards for fetuses, newborns and nursing infants. Additional risks for men include testicular pain and problems with ejaculation.

The director of the FDA’s Division of Anesthesia, Analgesia and Rheumatology Products stated that although the dominant symptom of fibromyalgia is pain, the drug did not relieve patients’ pain in the clinical trials.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease, but neither of the drug’s trials showed any statistical effectiveness beyond three months. And even within the trials’ three-month duration, more than 90 percent of users in the trial received no benefit from the drug at all.

Although not marketed as an antidepressant in the U.S., Savella is sold in Europe and Japan as such. The drug is required in the U.S. to have the “black box” warning for antidepressants, which points out an increased risk of suicide in children, adolescents and young adults. Manufactured by Cypress Bioscience Inc. and Forest Laboratories Inc., Savella has been sold in the U.S. since May 2009.

Click on title above for petition.


###

Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit public interest organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.

Because Public Citizen does not accept funds from corporations, professional associations or government agencies, we can remain independent and follow the truth wherever it may lead. But that means we depend on the generosity of concerned citizens like you for the resources to fight on behalf of the public interest. If you would like to help us in our fight, click on to the title above;
http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/release.cfm?ID=3029

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pigs Possible Hendra Vectors, New Report Warns

HENDRA VIRUS, SWINE VECTOR POTENTIAL
************************************
A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases


Date: Tue 2 Feb 2009
Source: Horsetalk [edited]



Pigs identified as possible vector for Hendra virus
---------------------------------------------------
Pigs are susceptible to the deadly Hendra virus and could potentially
transmit it to humans, Canadian researchers have discovered.

The virus occurs only in Australia and is carried by native fruit
bats. However, horses can catch the virus, most probably from
ingesting secretions from infected bats.

There have been 7 cases where the virus has been transferred from
horses to people, 4 of which proved fatal.

The 2 most recent fatalities involved equine veterinarians.

The research in Canada has shown that pigs are susceptible to the
virus. Two Landrace pigs, commonly used in the pork industry, and 5
Gottingen minipigs were inoculated with the virus, as well as half a
dozen guinea pigs, 2 of which died.

All test animals developed fever and depression. One of the 2 Landrace
pigs developed respiratory signs after 5 days and 1 of the Gottingen
minipigs developed not only respiratory signs but also mild
neurological signs. Virus was detected in all infected pigs at 2-5 days.

Clinical signs in the 2 infected Landrace pigs were more severe
compared to those observed in minipigs, the authors said. The Landrace
pigs were very sick at 5 days, with 1 developing severe depression,
respiratory distress, and possible neurological signs, requiring
euthanasia.

"Since infected pigs may shed virus through oral, nasal, and rectal
excretions, possible transmission through close contact with these
excretions may occur," the authors said. "This new finding indicates
that pigs are susceptible to Hendra virus infections and could
potentially play a role as an intermediate host in transmission to
humans."

The authors noted that a serological survey of 100 swine herds in
Queensland had found no antibodies against Hendra virus among 500
samples. "Lack of evidence for Hendra infection in domestic swine
stresses the importance of heightened on-farm biosecurity," they said.

"However, our findings may reinforce the concern about Hendra virus
infecting feral pigs if they are forced to share the same habitat as
fruit bats. This concern is based on the fact that Australia has over
23 million feral pigs living in Queensland, New South Wales, and the
Northern Territory, according to reports by Animal Control
Technologies."

The virus was first identified in 1994 as the cause of respiratory
illnesses in 13 horses and 2 people in the Brisbane suburb of Hendra.
The 1st fatality was a horse trainer.

--
Communicated by:
ProMED-mail


[These pigs were injected with the virus, but the real question is
whether they are susceptible by inhalation or ingestion of the virus?
It is possible to transmit many diseases through direct inoculation
that may not transfer in the real world.

This novel work shows pigs are clearly susceptible, but their role in
transmission of the disease has not been proven by this work, only
theorized. If the work is repeated hopefully the diligent researchers
will take the next step and place non-infected pigs into the same
locality and see if there is natural transmission. - Mod.TG]

[The reference for the study mentioned above is
Li M, Embury-Hyatt C, Weingartl HM: Experimental inoculation study
indicates swine as a potential host for Hendra virus, Vet. Res. (2010)
41: 33; available at
. -
Sr.Tech.Ed.MJ]

[see also:
2009
----
Hendra virus, human, equine - Australia (05): (QL) 20090910.3189
Hendra virus, human, equine - Australia (04): (QL) fatal 20090903.3098
Hendra virus, human, equine - Australia (03): (QL) 20090830.3052
Hendra virus, human, equine - Australia (02): (QL) 20090826.2998
Hendra virus, human, equine - Australia: (QL) 20090821.2963
Hendra virus, equine - Australia (02): (QL), RFI 20090820.2943
Hendra virus, equine - Australia: (QL) 20090811.2862
2008
----
Hendra virus, human, equine - Australia (07): (QLD) 20080821.2606
Hendra virus, human, equine - Australia (06): (QLD) 20080820.2592
Hendra virus, human, equine - Australia (05): (QLD) 20080816.2548
Hendra virus, human, equine - Australia (04): (QLD) 20080725.2260
Hendra virus, human, equine - Australia (03): (QLD) 20080720.2201
Hendra virus, human, equine - Australia (02): (QLD, NSW) 20080717.2168
Hendra virus, human, equine - Australia: (QLD) 20080715.2146
Hendra virus, equine - Australia: (Brisbane) 20080708.2076
2007
----
Hendra virus, human, equine - Australia (QLD) (04): 2nd corr. 20070903.2903
Hendra virus, human, equine - Australia (QLD) (04): 2nd corr. 20070903.2902
Hendra virus, human, equine - Australia (QLD) (03): corr. 20070903.2897
Hendra virus, human, equine - Australia (QLD) (03): corr. 20070903.2896
Hendra virus, human, equine - Australia (QLD) (02): not 20070831.2871
Hendra virus, human, equine - Australia (QLD): RFI 20070830.2851]
........................................tg/mj/jw
*##########################################################*
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Obomba Budget to Cut Farm Programs

Southwest Farm Press
Tue, February 2, 2010 12:00:00 AM CST

Agriculture advocacy groups have reacted with a flurry of unhappy responses to President Obama's Feb. 1 release of his proposed 2011 budget.

The proposed budget "reflects the serious challenges facing the country," said Obama the day of its release. "We're at war. Our economy has lost 7 million jobs over the last two years. And our government is deeply in debt after what can only be described as a decade of profligacy." Read Obama's full statement on page 2

Obama's attempt to control government spending (pegged at over $1.5 trillion for this year) would mean payment cuts not only to large farmers (more than $2 billion over a decade) and agriculture-related insurance (some $8 billion over a decade) - but also, to the consternation of some environmental groups, would reduce the growth of conservation programs.

For the full budget proposal, see USDA 2011 Budget.

Crop insurance has been on the Obama administration's radar for months. The latest budget comes after the December release of a proposal for a new Federal Crop Insurance Program. According to the budget proposal "crop-insurance companies currently benefit from huge windfall profits due to the structure and terms of the government's contract with the companies, called the Standard Reinsurance Agreement."

In the budget proposal, the USDA would receive $26 billion. Of that total, over $8 billion would be targeted for nutrition programs and more than $400 million would go to building broadband networks in rural areas.

Two other proposals sure to draw growers' ire:

• Cotton and/or grain farmers, despite market prices, would collect $30,000 or less annually in direct-payment subsidies. That would mean a potential drop of $10,000.

• Current farm payment eligibility caps of $750,000 (for farm income) and $500,000 (for non-farm income) would drop to $500,000 and $250,000, respectively.

Such actions, according to the budget proposal, "would allow USDA to target payments to those who need and can benefit from them most, while at the same time preserving the safety net that protects farmers against low prices and natural disasters."

Like the advocacy groups, prominent farm-state lawmakers - many facing re-election fights in 2010 - were unswayed by the Obama administration's effort and arguments.

"Put simply the president's proposal picks winners and losers," said Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. "By targeting policies that rural America relies upon, this proposal places a disproportionate burden on the backs of farmers and rural communities. While I too believe we must reduce the federal deficit, we must all share in this responsibility."

The latest farm bill "contained over $4 billion worth of cuts to farm programs, was completely paid for and did not contribute to the deficit. … Changing the rules in the middle of the game would be detrimental to their operations and would cost us even more jobs in rural America."

Obama's 2010 budget called for similar cuts in agriculture, which were derailed by Congress. Lincoln was ready to remind him of that. "I thank the president for his recommendations," she said, "but Congress writes the budget. I intend to support measures to reduce the deficit but fight many of the president's proposed cuts that will harm farmers, ranchers and rural communities."

Tom Vilsack, USDA secretary, defending Obama's budget, said problems in the United States' rural areas "have grown more acute, which is why the Obama administration is committed to new approaches to strengthen rural America." Read Vilsack's full statement on page 3.

As a reflection of needed financial constraint, Vilsack said, the proposed budget "essentially (freezes) funding for discretionary programs at the FY 2010 level. However, limits we placed on select programs and efforts to eliminate earmarks and one-time funding actually result in a bottom line reduction to our discretionary budget authority of over $1 billion."

Further, "we care deeply about farmers and ranchers and have worked hard to maintain the agricultural safety net, while instituting some targeted reductions in farm program payments."

Walking a tightrope between his state's farmers and his party's recent mantra of controlled spending, Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss, ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, commended Obama's "effort to reign in government spending," but said "we need to examine where resources are truly needed. As with last year, the (Obama) administration unfairly targets farmers and ranchers to achieve savings and fund Washington-based programs.

"I will continue to examine the budget along with my colleagues to ensure we are spending hard earned taxpayer dollars efficiently and effectively. In the weeks and months ahead, we will have to make some hard choices. It is my hope we can produce a budget that mirrors what Americans have to struggle with every day."

The National Cotton Council (NCC) warned that cotton will be a loser under Obama's proposal. If it is adopted, not only would farmers lose payments but storage and marketing issues would arise.

"The financing demands of commercial agriculture require a high level of confidence by lenders in program availability," said Jay Hardwick, a Louisiana farmer and NCC chairman. "In the midst of a credit crisis, it makes no sense to threaten a vital component of the borrower's cash flow."

The NCC said further proposals to eliminate upland cotton storage credits and reduce funding for the Market Access Program fails to take the whole picture into account. Read the NCC's full statement on page 5.

The American Soybean Association (ASA) "opposed similar proposals by the (Obama) administration last year that would have reopened the 2008 farm bill and undercut long-term economic decisions by soybean producers," said Rob Joslin, Ohio soybean producer and ASA president.

"They were bad ideas then, and they are bad ideas now. Agriculture spending, not including nutrition programs, is projected to account for just over one-half of one percent of next year's $3.8 trillion budget. Cutting the farm safety net to achieve minimal savings would jeopardize an industry that continues to be a key driver for U.S. economic recovery and export growth." Read the full ASA statement on page 4.

President Obama's Feb. 1 statement on his budget proposal


"This morning, I sent a budget to Congress for the coming year. It's a budget that reflects the serious challenges facing the country. We're at war. Our economy has lost 7 million jobs over the last two years. And our government is deeply in debt after what can only be described as a decade of profligacy.


"The fact is, 10 years ago, we had a budget surplus of more than $200 billion, with projected surpluses stretching out toward the horizon. Yet over the course of the past 10 years, the previous administration and previous Congresses created an expensive new drug program, passed massive tax cuts for the wealthy, and funded two wars without paying for any of it -– all of which was compounded by recession and by rising health care costs. As a result, when I first walked through the door, the deficit stood at $1.3 trillion, with projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade.


"If we had taken office during ordinary times, we would have started bringing down these deficits immediately. But one year ago, our country was in crisis: We were losing nearly 700,000 jobs each month, the economy was in a free fall, and the financial system was near collapse. Many feared another Great Depression. So we initiated a rescue, and that rescue was not without significant cost; it added to the deficit as well.


"One year later, because of the steps we've taken, we're in a very different place. But we can't simply move beyond this crisis; we have to address the irresponsibility that led to it. And that includes the failure to rein in spending, as well as reliance on borrowing –- from Wall Street to Washington to Main Street –- to fuel our growth. That's what we have to change. We have to do what families across America are doing: Save where we can so that we can afford what we need.


"Now, I think it's very important to understand: We won't be able to bring down this deficit overnight, given that the recovery is still taking hold and families across the country still need help. We will continue, for example, to do what it takes to create jobs. That's reflected in my budget; it's essential. The budget includes new tax cuts for people who invest in small businesses, tax credits for small businesses that hire new workers, investments that will create jobs repairing roads and bridges, and tax breaks for retrofitting homes to save energy.


"We also continue to lay a new foundation for lasting growth, which is essential as well. Just as it would be a terrible mistake to borrow against our children's future to pay our way today, it would be equally wrong to neglect their future by failing to invest in areas that will determine our economic success in this new century.


"That's why we build on the largest investment in clean energy in history, as well as increase investment in scientific research, so that we are fostering the industries and jobs of the future right here in America.


"That's why I've proposed a more than 6 percent increase in funding for the Education Department. And this funding is tied to reforms that raise student achievement, inspire students to excel in math and science, and turn around failing schools which consign too many young people to a lesser future - because in the 21st century there is no better anti-poverty program than a world-class education.


"And that's why we eliminate a wasteful subsidy to banks that lend to college students, and use that money to revitalize community colleges and make college more affordable. This will help us reach the goal I've set for America: By 2020 we will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.


"These are the investments we must make to create jobs and opportunity now and in the future. And in a departure from the way business had been done in Washington, we actually show how we pay for these investments while putting our country on a more fiscally sustainable path.


"I've proposed a freeze in government spending for three years. This won't apply to the benefits folks get through Social Security, Medicaid, or Medicare. And it won't apply to our national security –- including benefits for veterans. But it will apply to all other discretionary government programs. And we're not simply photocopying last year's budget; freezing spending does not mean we won't cut what doesn't work to pay for what does.


"We have gone through every department's spending line by line, item by item, looking for inefficiency, duplication, and programs that have outlived their usefulness. That's how we freeze discretionary spending. Last year, we found $17 billion in cuts. This year, we've already found $20 billion.


"Now, some of these cuts are just common sense. For example, we cut $115 million from a program that pays states to clean up mines that have already been cleaned up. We're also cutting a Forest Service economic development program that strayed so far from any mission that it funded a music festival. And we're saving $20 million by stopping the refurbishment of a Department of Energy science center that the Department of Energy does not want to refurbish.


"Other cuts, though, are more painful, because the goals of the underlying programs are worthy. We eliminate one program that provides grants to do environmental cleanup of abandoned buildings. That's a mission I support, but there are other sources of private and public funds to achieve it. We also eliminated a $120 million program that allows folks to get their Earned Income Tax Credit in advance. I am a big supporter of the Earned Income Tax Credit. The problem is 80 percent of people who got this advance didn't comply with one or more of the program's requirements.


"So I'm willing to reduce waste in programs I care about, and I'm asking members of Congress to do the same. I'm asking Republicans and Democrats alike to take a fresh look at programs they've supported in the past to see what's working and what's not, and trim back accordingly.


"Like any business, we're also looking for ways to get more bang for our buck, by promoting innovation and cutting red tape. For example, we consolidate 38 separate education programs into 11. And last fall, we launched the "SAVE Awards" to solicit ideas from federal employees about how make government more efficient and more effective. I'm proud to say that a number of these ideas - like allowing Social Security appointments to be made online - made it into our budget.


I also want to note even though the Department of Defense is exempt from the budget freeze, it's not exempt from budget common sense. It's not exempt from looking for savings. We save money by eliminating unnecessary defense programs that do nothing to keep us safe. One example is the $2.5 billion that we're spending to build C-17 transport aircraft. Four years ago, the Defense Department decided to cease production because it had acquired the number requested - 180. Yet every year since, Congress had provided unrequested money for more C-17s that the Pentagon doesn't want or need. It's waste, pure and simple.


"And there are other steps we're taking to rein in deficits. I've proposed a fee on big banks to pay back taxpayers for the bailout. We're reforming the way contracts are awarded, to save taxpayers billions of dollars. And while we extend middle-class tax cuts in this budget, we will not continue costly tax cuts for oil companies, investment fund managers, and those making over $250,000 a year. We just can't afford it.


"Finally, changing spending-as-usual depends on changing politics-as-usual. And that's why I've proposed a bipartisan fiscal commission: a panel of Democrats and Republicans who would hammer out concrete deficit reduction proposals over the medium and long term, but would come up with those answers by a certain deadline. I should point out, by the way, that is an idea that had strong bipartisan support, was originally introduced by Senators Gregg on the Republican side and Conrad on the Democratic side; had a lot of Republican cosponsors to the idea. I hope that, despite the fact that it got voted down in the Senate, that both the Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican Leader in the House John Boehner go ahead and fully embrace what has been a bipartisan idea to get our arms around this budget.


"That's also why we're restoring pay-as-you-go: a simple rule that says Congress can't spend a dime without cutting a dime elsewhere. This rule helped lead to the budget surpluses of the 1990s, and it's one of the most important steps we can take to restore fiscal discipline in Washington.


You can read more about the budget at budget.gov - very easy to remember - budget.gov. But the bottom line is this: We simply cannot continue to spend as if deficits don't have consequences; as if waste doesn't matter; as if the hard-earned tax dollars of the American people can be treated like Monopoly money; as if we can ignore this challenge for another generation. We can't.


"In order to meet this challenge, I welcome any idea, from Democrats and Republicans. What I will not welcome -– what I reject -– is the same old grandstanding when the cameras are on, and the same irresponsible budget policies when the cameras are off. It's time to hold Washington to the same standards families and businesses hold themselves. It's time to save what we can, spend what we must, and live within our means once again."

Statement from Tom Vilsack, USDA Secretary on the proposed 2011 budget

"I don't need to tell the American people that in 2009, America struggled through the most serious economic recession since the Great Depression. Families were forced to make difficult decisions. And more and more Americans had to rely on USDA to help put food on the table.

"The challenges facing rural communities for decades have grown more acute, which is why the Obama Administration is committed to new approaches to strengthen rural America. Rural Americans earn less than their urban counterparts, and are more likely to live in poverty. More rural Americans are over the age of 65, they have completed fewer years of school, and more than half of America's rural counties are losing population.

"This year, President Obama took steps to bring us back from the brink of a depression and grow the economy again. But with the unsustainable debt accumulated over the past decade, it's time to get our fiscal house in order.

"Our proposed FY 2011 budget is a reflection of that reality, essentially freezing funding for discretionary programs at the FY 2010 level. However, limits we placed on select programs and efforts to eliminate earmarks and one-time funding actually result in a bottom line reduction to our discretionary budget authority of over $1 billion.

"This budget uses taxpayer dollars wisely, taking common-sense steps that many families and small businesses have been forced to take with their own budgets. We are investing in American agriculture and the American people without leaving them a mountain of debt.

"We care deeply about farmers and ranchers and have worked hard to maintain the agricultural safety net, while instituting some targeted reductions in farm program payments. Just as importantly, this budget pursues priorities that will have the greatest impact in our efforts to address the challenges facing rural America and lay a new foundation for growth and prosperity.

"This budget will assist rural communities create prosperity so they are self-sustaining, economically thriving, and growing in population. We have already taken important steps in this effort. With help from the Recovery Act, we supported farmers and ranchers and helped rural businesses create jobs. We made investments in broadband, renewable energy, hospitals, water and waste water systems, and other critical infrastructure that will serve as a lasting foundation to ensure the long-term economic health of families in rural America. This budget includes almost $26 billion to build on that down payment and focuses on new opportunities presented by producing renewable energy, developing local and regional food systems, capitalizing on environmental markets and generating green jobs through recreation and natural resource restoration, conservation, and management.

"We will promote the production of food, feed, fiber, and fuel, as well as increased exports of food and agricultural products, as we work to strengthen the agricultural economy for farmers and ranchers. America's farmers and ranchers are the most productive and efficient in the world, and this budget maintains the policies that help maintain our nation's food security. This budget increases our funding for export promotion as part of President Obama's National Export Initiative and provides more support than ever before for competitive research, which can lead to gains in agricultural productivity.

"We will ensure that all of America's children have access to safe, nutritious, and balanced meals. The budget fully funds the expected requirements for the Department's three major nutrition assistance programs - WIC, the National School Lunch Program, and SNAP - and proposes $10 billion over 10 years to strengthen the Child Nutrition and WIC programs. It also invests over $1 billion for efforts to reduce food-borne illnesses from USDA-inspected food products.

"We will ensure our national forests and private working lands are conserved, restored, and made more resilient to climate change, while enhancing our water resources. This budget will enroll more than 300 million acres into Farm Bill conservation programs, an increase of 10% over 2010. It will support our efforts to strategically target high priority watersheds. And it focuses efforts on forest restoration and hazardous fuels reduction in the wildland-urban interface, where they will offer job-creation opportunities and reduce the chance of catastrophic wildfires.

"There is no doubt that these tough times call for shared sacrifice. The American people have tightened their belts and we have done so as well. We made tough decisions, but this budget reflects our values, and common sense solutions to the problems we face. It makes critical investments in the American people and in the agricultural economy to set us on a path to prosperity as we move forward in the 21st century."

ASA opposes proposed cuts in farm programs, crop insurance, export promotion

The American Soybean Association (ASA) "expressed disappointment in the Obama administration's proposals to cut funding for key farm programs, federal crop insurance, and the Market Access Program (MAP).

"‘ASA opposed similar proposals by the administration last year that would have reopened the 2008 farm bill and undercut long-term economic decisions by soybean producers,' said ASA president Rob Joslin, a soybean producer from Sidney, Ohio. ‘They were bad ideas then, and they are bad ideas now. Agriculture spending, not including nutrition programs, is projected to account for just over one-half of one percent of next year's $3.8 trillion budget. Cutting the farm safety net to achieve minimal savings would jeopardize an industry that continues to be a key driver for U.S. economic recovery and export growth.'

"Joslin's comments followed release of the President's Budget for FY-2011, which proposes to reduce the cap on Direct Payments to farmers by 25 percent, from $40,000 to $30,000. The President's budget also proposes to reduce by $250,000 each, the Adjusted Gross Income limits that can be earned from farm and non-farm sources in order to be eligible for farm and conservation payments.

The (Obama) administration is also proposing changes in the federal crop insurance program that would reduce its cost by $8 billion over 10 years.

"‘Congress already considered these proposals during debate on the 2008 Farm Bill, and rejected them again last year,' Joslin said. ‘While there may be need for reform in crop insurance administrative payments to companies, any savings should be reinvested to make the program more widely accepted in parts of the country where farmers don't participate.'

"Another proposal would cut spending under MAP, which funds export promotion activities, by 20 percent, or $40 million per year. Noting the Administration's proposed increase in funding for other export activities, including the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program, Joslin stated that ‘ASA would support increasing funding for FMD, but not at the expense of MAP.'

"ASA strongly endorses the proposed increase in funding for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), from $262 million this year to $429 million in FY2011.

"‘Agriculture research was left out of last year's economic stimulus package, while other research sectors received billions of federal dollars,' Joslin said. ‘Research is the driving force behind innovation in American agriculture, and this proposed increased in AFRI funding is needed for long-term economic growth of the agricultural and food sectors of our economy.'

"ASA represents all U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international issues of importance to the soybean industry. ASA's advocacy efforts are made possible through the voluntary membership in ASA by over 22,500 farmers in 31 states where soybeans are grown."

NCC: budget proposal undermines farm safety net

"The National Cotton Council said President Obama's FY2011 USDA budget ignores the extensive changes to production agriculture support that were embodied in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. In addition, the NCC noted, USDA already has announced unwarranted restrictions in program eligibility during the legislation's implementation.

"NCC Chairman Jay Hardwick, a Louisiana cotton producer, said, ‘The President's proposal on phasing down direct payments and limiting total payments affects the farms that produce more than three-fourths of all agricultural products marketed in the United States. The safety net for America's farm families must be maintained. Congress spoke clearly to ensure sound agricultural policy that is fiscally responsible in the passage of the last farm law. Direct payments are compliant with the direction being taken in the World Trade Organization to reduce trade distorting support. The financing demands of commercial agriculture require a high level confidence by lenders in program availability. In the midst of a credit crisis, it makes no sense to threaten a vital component of the borrower's cash flow.'

"The 2008 farm law includes provisions for the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to pay a portion of the storage costs during periods of low prices. These provisions' costs were completely offset by changes in the upland cotton counter-cyclical target price.

"The NCC emphasized that the Administration's proposal to eliminate the upland cotton storage credits is a failure to discern critical differences between commodities.

"‘Baled upland cotton lint is an identity-preserved commodity that requires off-farm storage in facilities approved by CCC while under loan,' Hardwick said. ‘Further, loan eligible cotton must comply with a number of CCC regulations stipulating bale wrapping and packaging.'

The NCC also is truly puzzled by the proposed reduction in Market Access Program (MAP) funding.

"‘While the Department of Commerce is announcing new programs for export promotion and job creation, the administration proposes to cut support for agricultural export promotion,' Hardwick stated. ‘Foreign sales account for one-third of U.S. agricultural production's total value. Solid export performance is essential for the economic health of rural America and agricultural exports warrant aggressive support.'"

NFU statement on proposed FY2011 budget

"National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson made the following statement on the proposed fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget.

"‘NFU understands the nation is faced with a difficult financial situation and we commend the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for increases in important programs in its proposed budget. However, the cut in crop insurance at $8 billion over 10 years comes as a disappointment, as crop insurance is part of the vital safety net for farmers and ranchers providing a safe and secure food supply.

"‘NFU is supportive of USDA's significant investment in rural development and the allocation of funds toward bringing broadband access to rural America.

"‘NFU is committed to working with Congress to find solutions to the growing hunger problem in America. USDA's full funding of its food and nutrition programs is a step toward expanding access and improving quality of nutrition programs.

"‘Increased funding for the Food Safety and Inspection Service will help USDA maintain a safe food supply and implement the interstate shipment of state-inspected meat, as intended by Congress.

"‘Funding for the Agricultural and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) is at its highest level. NFU strongly supports agricultural research, as it is the key to helping agriculture adapt to the challenges of a changing world.

"‘NFU supports the funding for technology in the Farm Service Agency offices, allowing the agency to upgrade its systems.

"‘NFU will continue to work with the president and Congress to ensure the interests of producers are prioritized and represented in the final budget.'

"With a membership of 250,000 farm and ranch families, NFU has for more than 100 years continued its original mission to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers and their rural communities."

NSAC comments on Obama agriculture budget

Comments of Ferd Hoefner, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition policy director:

"The Obama administration budget for food and agriculture is a mixed bag.

"In the dreadful category, the President proposes to turn his back on the widely acclaimed 2008 Farm Bill deal to ramp up support for farmers and ranchers investing in natural resource conservation and environmental enhancement.

"Obama is asking Congress to whack over $500 million in the short term and over $1 billion long term from the mandatory funding for farm conservation programs in the 2008 farm bill.

"The conservation cuts include $380 million from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP); 770,000 acres or $70 million (and $700 million over ten years) from the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP); over 15,000 acres or $35 million from the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP); $15 million from the Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program (FRPP); $12 million from the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), and additional amounts from the Grasslands Reserve (short and long term), and other conservation programs.

"The silver lining for NSAC is that Congressional appropriators rejected proposed cuts to mandatory farm bill funding for conservation programs the past two years, with the exception of a $270 million EQIP cut, and we urge them to reject this new proposal in exactly the same fashion. Now is not the time to turn our backs on environmental improvement on the 50 percent of the continental U.S. that is agricultural land.

"Turning his back on his campaign promises to fully back the new Conservation Stewardship Program, the budget President Obama submitted today proposes to start chipping away at contracts between USDA and farmers to comprehensively improve soil and water quality, use climate-friendly farming systems, improve wildlife habitat, and reduce water and energy consumption.

"At his confirmation hearing, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack had this to say about the CSP: ‘I recognize that this is not only an opportunity to expand income opportunities for producers but it is also great for the environment, and for water quality in particular, and it also provides jobs, rural jobs… (T)his is a job creator, it's great for the environment, and it's an income opportunity for marginal land. I'm very supportive of this.'

"For her part, Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan at her confirmation hearing called the CSP ‘a jewel among many wonderful USDA programs. What I like about CSP…is that it recognizes farmers as environmental stewards and rewards their contributions to healthy food, land, water, and wildlife.'

"We agree with the sentiments of then candidate Obama and the then Secretary and Deputy Secretary nominees. We strongly suspect that Congress will reject this ill-advised cut to the only comprehensive working-lands conservation program in the country.

"We support the proposed cut to the per-farm cap for commodity program direct payments from $80,000 a year (married couple) to $60,000 a year, though such a change would obviously require new legislation. The proposed change to reduce the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) caps, however, leaves us scratching our heads.

"Reducing the means-test for receiving commodity production subsidies to $250,000 ($500,000 for married couples) in non-farm income is a noble sentiment, but an ineffective policy. If it were to become law, the most immediate effects would be negative - encouraging crop share landlords to switch to cash rents (and thus avoid the cap) and encouraging investors to plow back subsidies into more land and equipment (and thus reduce AGI). Ironically, both would increase farm consolidation.

"The irony is further heightened by the President's decision earlier this month to issue a final rule on commodity program payment limitation law in which he did a complete about face on his campaign promise to close the regulatory loopholes that allow mega farms to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in subsidy checks. Unlike the new, ineffectual AGI proposal which would require Congressional approval and take several years to implement, the payment limit final rule required only the President's sign off to effectively and immediately halt farm subsidy abuse.

"On the plus side, sustainable agriculture farmers and researchers are cheering the near 50 percent increase proposed by the President for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) competitive grants program. The $30 million proposed for SARE in FY2011 represents the largest proposed increase in the 22 year history of the program. Most of the increase would help fund a federal-state matching grant program to build long-term sustainability into state and land grant university agricultural programs. Winning congressional passage of the long overdue increase will be a priority of the sustainable agriculture community.

"Two new proposals in the USDA budget sound promising and the local and regional food system farm and business community will be anxiously awaiting further details as they emerge.

"One would build on a NSAC proposal included in the 2008 farm bill to set-aside 5 percent of Rural Business and Industry loans for local and regional food system enterprise development. The President's new proposal would set-aside up to 5 percent of a wide range of rural development, marketing, and conservation programs for projects in areas in which strategic regional planning is building a stronger rural economic foundation, including the redevelopment of local and regional food and agricultural systems.

"The other is a proposed $35 million for a Healthy Food Financing Initiative that would provide loans for new grocery stores to increase access to healthy foods in urban and rural food "deserts." That proposal would also target an additional $15 million from other marketing and rural development programs to support the initiative."

American Farmland Trust on proposed budget

"‘At a time when we most need to invest in our strategic natural resources and keep them healthy for the future, the President has proposed cuts to key farmland preservation, conservation, and water quality programs,' says Jon Scholl, American Farmland Trust (AFT) President. ‘The fact of the matter is, slashing these programs will do nothing significant to address our nation's budget problems while it will dramatically reduce our ability to protect the resources that supply abundant food and a cleaner environment. So we're concerned that it is penny-wise now, and will be very pound foolish in the future.'

"Despite the administration's rhetorical desire to support conservation and agriculture, and address such issues as climate change and renewable energy, ‘reductions of over one-half a billion dollars in mandatory conservation program spending will make it much more difficult for farmers and ranchers to make changes necessary to protect our air, land and water,' adds Scholl. ‘These cuts represent nearly a 20% cut to working-lands conservation programs, yet agriculture is the most cost-effective solution to these very real environmental challenges.'

"The President's proposed budget would cut hundreds of millions of dollars from working lands conservation programs that was promised under the 2008 Farm Bill. Some of the key cuts concerning AFT include:

• Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP)-A cost-share program that helps farmers keep their land in agriculture in perpetuity has been slated for $55 million in cuts over the next two years. Typically in this program every $1 the government invests in conservation easements is matched by $3 from farmers, local and state programs.

• Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)-The conservation program that encourages landowners to install buffer strips between fields and streams, fence livestock out of waterways, and more, would be slashed by $380 million, or by 31 percent in 2011.

• The Conservation Security Program (CSP) is to be cut by hundreds of millions of dollars. Depending on the final reimbursement rate per acre used, this could be as high as a $331 million loss. CSP is a program that provides cost-share monies to farmers to assist in implementing on-farm stewardship practices on working farm and ranchland.

"‘On a more positive note, the administration is building on new programs for producers by developing local and regional food systems through new programs under the 2008 farm bill. During the last year, we've been excited by the USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative and its potential. AFT believes that new economic opportunities that connect farmers with local consumers have numerous benefits, and especially when programs underscore the fact that food comes from farmland nearby, and how without land there would be no food,' notes Scholl.

"‘During the last year, USDA has moved forward in conservation and environmental programs. They have worked to make programs more efficient, and make constructive policy changes to improve programs. More generally, the administration has acknowledged and defended agriculture's role in improving the environment, and that's a good thing,' says Scholl. ‘However, we were very disappointed today that the administration has undercut the work that they've begun by not recognizing that the environmental benefits to society gained over the long run through agriculture far outweigh the investments made by the public now. That's why we believe this 2011 budget proposal is penny-wise and pound foolish.

"‘We look forward to working with members of Congress and the administration to highlight our concerns, reexamine the President's budget and recalibrate the priorities for agriculture. We simply must address loss of farmland, and the potential of farms and ranches to maximize their production of environmental benefits like cleaner water and air, sequestering carbon, renewable energy, and more. This is a critical time to invest even more cost-share money, not less,' concludes Scholl.

BEST BUDGET MOVE of 2010 - KUDOs ObombA - 70% of all available cropland is used for cattle-feed production.
Next is an END to the Public Lands Welfare Ranching System;
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